Bud Light rolls out bigger nutrition labels
Starting next month, packages of Bud Light will have prominent labels showing the beer’s calories and ingredients as well as the amount of fat, carbohydrates and protein in a serving.
Bud Light is probably the first of many to make the move. The labels aren’t legally required, but major beer makers agreed in 2016 to voluntarily disclose nutrition facts on their products by 2020.
Many brands, including Corona Light, Guinness, Heineken and Coors Light, already have calories and other nutrition information on their bot- tles or packaging. But it’s in small type, or hidden on the bottom of the sixpack, and ingredients aren’t listed.
Bud Light went with a big, black-and-white label, similar to the ones required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on packaged foods. At the top, Bud Light lists its four ingredients: water, barley, rice and hops. Below that, it shows the calories in a 12-ounce bottle or can (110) and other facts. Bud Light contains 2 percent of the recommended daily amount of carbohydrates, for example.
“We want to be transparent and give people the thing they are used to seeing,” said Andy Goeler, vice president of marketing for Bud Light.
Individual bottles and cans of Bud Light won’t have the full labels, but they’ll have some nutrition information printed in small type.
Goeler said the brand’s research shows that younger drinkers, in particular, want to know what’s in their beer.
“They have grown up really in tune to ingre- dients,” he said.
Goeler said he didn’t know when other brands owned by Bud Light parent Anheuser-Busch would adopt bigger nutrition labels.
But the question is: Will such labels make a difference in the choices consumers make? At least one study suggests they won’t.
Researchers at Cornell University and Louisiana State University tracked what happened when diners were given menus with calorie counts. It found that diners who knew the calorie counts ordered lower-calorie appetizers and entrees, but the calorie counts had little impact on orders for drinks and desserts.
John Cawley, an economics professor at Cornell and one of the authors of the study, said diners seemed to respond most to information they didn’t already know.
BUD LIGHT WENT WITH A BIG, BLACK-AND-WHITE LABEL, SIMILAR TO THE ONES REQUIRED BY THE U.S. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION ON PACKAGED FOODS.